google-docs-tell-me-what-to-do

Wandering through the task management options

I have used a number of task management tools over the years, and some of them are phenomenally powerful. My favorite one to date is Asana.com where users get a single console to create projects, tasks, and subtasks. I used Asana for a couple of years, but I found that it wasn’t the best tool for controlling my tasks because it was just too robust for just the few people who I needed to work with though a tasking system.

I stepped back from my search for the right tool and thought about what I needed most from a workflow tool. I valued the ability to have a continuous ticketing system that could be passed from one actor to another. I actually thought that assigning was the single most important feature that I needed, but then I realized that I was looking for too much.

I needed a system that would allow me to:

  • Create a quick list of ideas as I moved around the building and community
  • Have an automatic to do list each day
  • Have a repository of information that I did not feel I had to act on immediately
  • Create an ongoing meeting agenda and action items viewable by my team
  • Not spend any money on

Google Forms are powerful tools, and they are incredibly simple. I realized that they were just enough for me to meet my task management without having a cumbersome interface. I want to share how I started using them to create my to do list each day and manage those ideas that I want to do, just not right now. I created two key forms that drive how I work.

Shared Administration Form

I use my shared administration form for my assistant principals, coordinators, and business manager. This is a simple form that allows these key people to add items to what will become our meeting agenda. The cool part of using this system is having a dynamic agenda that is developed prior to the meeting, so we all have an understanding of what we will need to prepare to discuss prior to our meetings. Here is my form and the response sheet:

admin-agenda

The second form that I use, in fact, more often than the last, is my personal to do list. I love doing this. I was an absolute organizational nightmare prior to doing this. I would make notes on my phone, I would create tasks in a task management system, or I would just write it down on a sticky note. Now, I have access to update my to do list wherever I am because it is a form on my phone’s home screen.

home

(The row above the task bar is home to my productivity Google Forms)

The best part of using the Google Doc platform for this is that it’s all online. That means that you can easily add links to these forms and their response sheets to your home screen. If you aren’t familiar with this process you can learn how to do this, then just look here for iPhone and here for Android.